Ricotta gnocchi bake

This dish is a lot of effort, but you can do it within about 90 minutes, so it isn’t the most time consuming thing you’ll ever make. It is however one of the yummiest things you’ll ever make! So have a go, and serve it to people who will appreciate the effort of homemade pasta… that is seriously all of my family and friends!!

 

Ingredients for the gnocchi

250g pecorino or other Italian cheese

250g ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup plain flour

2 shakes of ground nutmeg

 

Ingredients for the sauce

1 onion finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped

Splash olive oil

100 g butter

300 ml cream

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

A bunch of thyme

Salt and pepper

 

 Other ingredients

A little more thyme

A handful of your favourite cheese

 

Making the gnocchi

Combine the ricotta, cheese, the egg, nutmeg and flour. Stir with a metal knife and then knead into a soft dough. Divide the mix into three portions and roll into sausage shape logs. If the dough is too sticky add a little extra flour when rolling/kneading. Cut the logs up into small 1 cm pieces and flatten a little in the palms of your hand.

Have a large saucepan of boiling salt water on the go and cook the gnocchi in a few batches in the water. I stir the water to create a swirl just before plonking in the gnocchi. It is cooked when it has been floating for a few minutes. Scoop out and set aside to drain.

Making the sauce

Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the butter and cream. Now slide the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add. Season as you like with salt and pepper. Once butter is melted through add the cheese and take off heat. The cheese should melt nicely into the hot sauce. Place back on low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Take off and set aside.

Putting it all together

Gently place your gnocchi in an oven proof dish. Pour your sauce on top. Now sprinkle with your favourite cheese. I used mozzarella! Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a little thyme and serve with love!!

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Ricotta gnocchi bake

Gingerbread biscuits with royal egg white icing

These biscuits make fantastic gifts in little boxes, and are wonderful to bring your loved ones together making beautiful memories in the kitchen! Furthermore, they are delectable! I hope you enjoy these lovely treats!

 

Ingredients
250 g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup treacle
2 egg yolks – and keep the whites for the icing
5 cups plain flour
3 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp bi carb soda
2 egg whites – from above for icing
3 cups icing sugar for icing

Hundreds and thousands sprinkles!

 

Method
Cream the butter, sugar, treacle and yolk. Then add sifted flour little by little. Add the ginger and bi-carb too. Divide the mixture and knead well. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Roll your dough out onto bake paper until about 5-7mm thick. Lay your patterns you’ve cut on top and use a knife to cut the edges off. You can also use cookie cutters. I did a combination this year! Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for around 15 minutes on 170 degrees Celsius, but check after 10 minutes – it all depends on the thickness of your dough!

Royal icing aka glue
Mix egg whites with an electric mixer, gradually adding the icing sugar. Mix on high until the icing is at a consistency of being able to have some on a spoon and it not slip off. Once the cookies have cooled down, use the royal icing to spread on the cookies to decorate. Some we leave just like that, and others we sprinkle with hundreds and thousands for a pop of colour – the kids love them!! These really are a beautiful gift for people, and a lovely way to make memories with your family or helpers!

Gingerbread biscuits with royal egg white icing

Simple pavlova topping

This really is a simple and scrumptious creation! Choose whatever fruit you like that is in season and I promise your pavlova will be amazing!

 

Ingredients

250ml thickened cream

1 cup icing powder

2 tsp vanilla pod scrapings

Fruit of your choice (here I have 3 nectarines sliced and 250 g blueberries).

Maple syrup

 

Method

Combine the cream, icing powder and vanilla in a bowl and blend with an electric mixer on medium speed until thick and lovely. Taste your cream, and if you’d like a little more vanilla do add it!

Spoon the cream onto your pavlova and spread it until about an inch thick. Top with your fruits. Now drizzle excessively with your maple syrup! That’s all there is too it, and it is a crowd pleaser! Enjoy your creation!

Simple pavlova topping

Whiskey glaze

This is the best glaze I know. Because there are few ingredients, you must use the best for you! Buy the whiskey you like – I don’t like mine too peaty, I tend to stick with Irish whiskeys that are triple distilled – but choose what you and yours like. For the sugar, I use an unrefined dark brown muscovado, but you use whatever brown sugar you like. Of course I use my local honey, from an apiary not 5 km away from my home. Try not to drink the rest of the whiskey whilst your ham is baking! Good luck!

 

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Ingredients

1 cup of whiskey

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

What more could you want?!

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Method

Combine all ingredients together and stir on stove top. Place on medium heat and bring to the boil. This is a viscous glaze which gets thicker as it is on your meat. So glaze your ham every 20 to 30 minutes during cooking time by pouring on top. Your entire home will smell sensational and everyone will comment on how scrumptious that ham is!

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Whiskey glaze

Spiced capsicums

Full of flavour, I make these and then store them in the fridge for up to a week. Use them in salads, eat as a side dish, or chop and put in a biryani. However you eat these, just make sure you balance the spice as you like it.

 

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Ingredients

Small various coloured capsicums

A handful of flat leaf parsley

2 tbs paprika

Salt and pepper

1 tbs nutmeg

 

Method

Set out a sheet of baking paper a little bigger than an A4 page. Place the capsicums on it and sprinkle with your herbs and spices. Wrap the capsicums up. Bake on a tray in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 30 minutes.

These are a great side dish to any Mexican rice thing you’ve got going on. They are also great in salads. Sometimes I chop them up and add to brown rice, which is my favourite way to eat these beauties! Enjoy them any way you like!

Spiced capsicums

Rocky road

A friend of mine created this unique twist to an old classic, and I make it now too! Have a shot, you will not be disappointed!

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Ingredients

250 g bag of pink and white marshmallows

250 g chocolate – here I have used milk but use what you love!

A bag of raspberry lollies

Method

Line a small slice tray with baking paper. Melt your chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Add the marshmallows and raspberry lollies, coating and combining until covered. Spoon the mix into your slice tray. If you like, sprinkle with your favourite nuts! Sometimes I go for pistachios here! Leave on the bench to set, or if it is a hot Queensland day, pop her in the fridge for a few hours. Cut into small squares to enjoy this easy and yummy treat!

Rocky road

Deconstructed Caesar salad

Queensland hot summers call for loads of salads. And that can get tiresome if you don’t mix it up a bit! This little number is a red hot favourite with the family, and lunch guests. It looks somewhat impressive, and takes minimal effort – just my kind of dish! So have a crack! I bet you make it a summer favourite!

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Ingredients

100g jarlsberg cheese

2 small cos lettuce, chopped rough or whole leaf

A red onion, diced

Cucumber, chopped as you like

Tomatoes, as you like

Handful of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped

A roasted capsicum, sliced

Left over sourdough cut into 2cm cubes

Olive oil

A clove of garlic

An avocado

1 kg chicken thighs

A lemon

A handful of herbs (I used thyme, oregano and flat leaf parsley)

 

Method

Put your chicken thighs in a baking tray and splash with olive oil. Crack some salt and pepper on top, cut your lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice on. Add your handful of various herbs and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 35 minutes.

Either rub the sourdough with your garlic clove before you cut it up, or crush the garlic clove and sprinkle it on top of the squares. On a separate tray place your sourdough squares, spray with olive oil. Cook in a 200 degree Celsius oven for about 5 minutes.

Tear or keep your lettuce whole, arranging it in your salad bowl. Chop your tomato, cucumber, onion and capsicum how you like them and rest them on top of your lettuce. Put a bit of cheese around! Sprinkle with your chopped parsley. Now cut your avocado as you like and leave on a plate. I like this deconstructed version of Caesar salad for many reasons including its simplicity. It is downright delicious. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

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Deconstructed Caesar salad